Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pickering confronts his critics

Sid Salter writes a great piece in today's Clarion Ledger on Charles Pickering and "A Price Too High."

An excerpt from Salter's piece:

In Pickering's second book, he confronts his Senate and special interest tormentors - particularly U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and the group People For the American Way. He does it merely by letting them be hoisted on the petard of their own contradictory comments in their attempts to smear a white Southerner with the false charge of racism....

In A Price Too High, Pickering recounts the behind-the-scenes political machinations on Capitol Hill - including his defense in public and private by his son, 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Flora. But he also writes about the toll it took on his health and on his family.

One particularly powerful chapter focuses on Judge Pickering's March 28, 2004, interview on the CBS news magazine show 60 Minutes with veteran journalist Mike Wallace.

Wallace, feared by politicians and public officials for his ability to get to the truth regardless of the consequence, gave 16.74 million Americans a chance to get to know Pickering and hear what Mississippians had to say about the charges of racism lodged against him by Schumer, the People for the American Way and other critics.

One of the real stars of the 60 Minutes piece was veteran civil rights activist Charles Evers, the brother of slain NAACP field director Medgar Evers. Charles Evers staunchly defended Pickering in front of a national television audience and told of his efforts to battle the Ku Klux Klan in Jones County in the 1960s.

Evers recently read Pickering's second book.

"Unlike those who attacked him in Washington, D.C., I know Charles Pickering personally; and I know his positive record on race relations, civil rights, and equal protection for all," said Evers. "Washington liberals attempted to portray him as a racist; they sickened me. I've been in the fight. I have the wounds. I know the truth. If you are interested in promoting better race relations, you should read Charles Pickering's story."

(Read Salter's Full Piece Here)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pickering speaks on culture war at JCJC

From today's Laurel Leader Call:

The first speaker this year for the Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors Topic Lecture Series, Pickering spoke about his new book, A Price Too High: The Judiciary in Jeopardy....Pickering, an alumnus of Jones, told students about two battles that are ongoing in the United States: A culture war that separates historical and religious traditions from modern secularism, and the proper procedure to change the constitution.

Citing passages and life experiences from his book, Pickering gave examples of his ongoing battles, beliefs and solutions to the problems the country faces.

“Judges do not have the power to change the constitution,” said Pickering. “It’s contrary to the will of the American people.”

Pickering shared his belief that an amendment to the constitution is the only way a change should be made, and he said he stayed in the fight for this belief for four years.

....Through attacks from modern secularists against his beliefs, including his Christian faith, he continued to stand by his ideals. Pickering said that faith and the encouragement of family and friends is what sustained him and his wife.

(Read the Full Story Here)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

JCJC Phi Thetha Kappa lecture series

Hattiesburg American: Jones County Junior College kicked off its Phi Theta Kappa lecture series Tuesday with a visit from Charles Pickering...spoke...about the turmoil surrounding his failed appointment to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a subject he has covered in a new book titled "A Price Too High: The Judiciary in Jeopardy."

....Reading from his book, Pickering said, "In addition to religion, the ghost of Mississippi's past haunted my nomination."

He told faculty and honors students of his stance against abortion, his disdain for the federal judiciary "making laws," and his belief there are too many forces in the nation who want to depose public officials for being open about their religious beliefs.
(Read the Full Story)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gold, Gods and Glory

Charles Pickering will speak to the inaugural class of the "Charles Pickering Honors Institute" at the Jones County Junior College Fine Arts Auditorium today at 10am.

He will speak on the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society's lecture theme of "Gold, Gods and Glory: The Global Dynamics of Power." He will sign books afterward.

(Full Story Here)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pickering at Jones County Junior College

Former federal judge and Jones County native Charles Pickering is returning to his alma mater of Jones County Junior College Tuesday for a free lecture and book signing for students and the general public....Pickering received an associate’s degree from JCJC in 1957 before going on to the University of Mississippi where he received a law degree in 1961....The lecture and book signing will be held in the JCJC Fine Arts Auditorium at 10 a.m. The event is co-sponsored by JCJC’s newly created Charles Pickering Honors Institute and the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. For more information call Honors Institute Director Mark Taylor at 477-4030. (Read the Full Story Here)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pickering Signs Books in Hattiesburg

WDAM: Judge Charles Pickering's failed struggle for confirmation for a position on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is the centerpiece of a new book....A Price Too High: The Judiciary in Jeopardy, is the story of Judge Pickering's 4-year odyssey through the often-contenious, Senate confirmation process....Tonight, Judge Pickering signed copies of the book at Hattiesburg's Main Street Books. "Abortion was the engine that drove the opposition," said Judge Pickering. "They were so determined to keep the right to abortion on demand, that they were willing to destroy reputations and people," Pickering said. (Read the Full Story Here)

Mississippi Federal Bench Roundup

SunHerald: Newest federal judge sworn in - Halil Suleyman "Sul" Ozerden, a young attorney from Gulfport, was sworn in Thursday [Aug 23] as the state's newest federal judge...."One of the things I had instilled in me, particularly from my father, was the importance of public service and giving back to your country," Ozerden said. "America is about seizing opportunity and making the most of it." President Bush nominated Ozerden, 40, to replace retiring Judge David C. Bramlette who is taking senior status....Ozerden's father came to America from Turkey in 1963 with a suitcase and $100. "But he also came with the American dream and when you have that you can accomplish anything," Ozerden said. The new judge still has his father's old suitcase and naturalization certificate, which he plans to hang in his new office, "as a reminder never to take for granted the special rights and privileges we have in this country." (Read the Full Story)

Baton Rouge Advocate: Senate vote urged on 5th U.S. Circuit nominee - Two prominent Republican senators on Wednesday called for Democrats to allow a vote on the judge nominated to the federal bench in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans. The Democrats should allow the nomination of Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick to come before the full chamber, said U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Specter was joined by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, former committee chairman. Southwick’s nomination has been held up by Senate Democrats....Specter is hoping to get a vote on Southwick before the end of the month, he said....U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is expected to support the nomination. A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said Wednesday she has not decided which way to vote, though she had a good meeting with Southwick.
(Read the Full Story)

Tupelo Daily Journal: Aycock closes in on full approval - About 11 a.m. Thursday, as Circuit Judge Sharion Aycock faced down seven people who wanted to make guilty pleas in the second-floor courtroom of the Lee County Justice Center, she received a note from a clerk....The note told her the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee had approved her in committee and to the full Senate for confirmation as a federal judge...for the U.S. District court seat vacated by Judge Glen H. Davidson....A Senate aide present at the business meeting in Washington said the vote was unanimous. The next step is for the full Senate to vote on the nomination. It's uncertain when that will happen. (Read the Full Article)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Race Card

WDAM (NBC: Laurel/Hattiesburg) interviews Charles Pickering prior to a couple of book signings. They ask him about critics who played the race card and this clip has his response.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Filibuster Southwick?

There is talk of a filibuster of Leslie Southwick's nomination to the Pickering seat on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ana Radelat writes in today's Jackson Clarion Ledger: Southwick's nomination to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been bitterly opposed by many Democrats who've criticized the judge's record on civil rights based on decisions he made while serving on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. But opposition to Southwick has not reached the level it had for previous nominees for that seat whom the Democrats were able to block from Senate confirmation - Mississippi Judge Charles Pickering and Jackson lawyer Mike Wallace. Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, said she hoped a Democratic senator would filibuster the nomination, or hold it up by extended debate...."We are not ruling out any technique ... including the filibuster," Aron said. (Read the full story here)

Judge Pickering discusses in depth the filibuster (its history, tradition, rules, motivations) in both his books. Chapter 10 of Supreme Chaos is titled "Filibuster: The Historic and Constitutional Case for Confirmation by Majority Vote" and Chapter 18 of A Price Too High is titled "End the Filibuster: The Constitutional Option."

Pickering notes in A Price Too High that early warnings of a filibuster were ignored during his and other early Bush nominees' confirmation fights: "Republicans did not take the warning of a filibuster seriously. The Democrats didn’t filibuster Robert Bork, and they didn’t filibuster Clarence Thomas. In fact, neither party had ever employed the filibuster to deny confirmation to a nominee enjoying majority support. Blocking nominees in committee was bad enough, but blocking judicial nominees by filibuster would be unprecedented. The Democrats had just taken a licking at the ballot box in part due to their obstruction of judicial nominees. Election losses historically are effective teaching techniques utilized by voters. Those of us who doubted the Democrats would follow through on the threatened filibuster did not comprehend the control that the Far Left—out of the mainstream—special-interest groups held over the Democrats in the Senate." (page 120)

He later notes that the filibuster is purely a political tool because controversial and important nominations have always been dealt with previously: "It is not necessary to filibuster judges who are truly out of the mainstream. History shows us the Senate can discuss, vet, and even defeat contentious Supreme Court nominees without the need of a filibuster. In fact, the Senate has defeated twelve Supreme Court nominees by majority vote without filibuster. Certainly if we can resolve the Supreme Court nominations without filibusters, we can do the same for appellate nominees." (page 250)